Just found out that our family is going to Maui christmas to new years week and was wondering if anyone could recommend a few cant miss places to eat dinner. Kids are 19,21 and we are all foodies that love to experiment with new types of food.
Any suggestions appreciated!
You have probably already departed, but in your "neck of the woods," I am a fan of these:
Banyan Tree Ritz Kapalua, but have NOT dined there, since the refurbishment
We had a mediocre meal (all respects) at David Paul's new restaurant, but 6 mos. later, great foodie friends found it the best?
We also have greatly enjoyed Mama's Fish House, but if you like your adult beverages, it is too far to think about driving back. Lunch maybe?
re: Bill Hunt
What did you like at Aloha Mixed Plate? When our family ate there in summer 2010, we found the setting to be great, but lots of the food not so. We mostly ordered plate lunch and the rice and mac salad were huge scoops of utterly wasted calories. The lau lau and kalua pig were not bad and the pupu platter was pretty good with delicious succulent coconut shrimp. One son ordered an Asian noodle dish that was excellent. Don't remember exactly what but I think any of those might be the best choice there. The rest was completely forgettable. It does look like they have a pretty good happy hour though. We didn't make it back on our Maui trip last month, but if we do go again, is there something great we are missing?
We loved Star Noodle and ate there twice. Sit at the bar if Johnny is working. He'll be wearing the Santa hat. Get the pad thai and the garlic noodles. They will customize dishes to your liking. We order the garlic noodles with veggies and chicken. Be sure to save room for the malasadas for dessert. Trust me on this, ask for double caramel and no chocolate. Sea House has a great happy hour from 2-5 pm. Appetizers are $5 and 2 plates make a meal. Try the sweet potato quesadilla and the mushroom ravioli. Heard good things about the Maui balls too. Beautiful view and beach to boot. It's not easy to find but it's the Napaili Kai Beach Resort. Up in Paia, go to Paia Fish Market. It's nothing fancy but they use the same fishermen as Mama's Fish House and the fish sandwiches or "burgers" were out of this world. Get the Mahi. It was so good the hubs wanted to order a second one. You'll also save yourself a few hundred dollars from a trip to Mama's. Drive up to Mama's park in the beach parking with the blue cones and enjoy the view for free.
Some of the locals also recommended that we go "grind" at Mala, Leoda's Pie Shop (for the best Ahi sandwich on the island), Saigon Cafe, Kimo's and Da Kitchen. Another told us that Roy's has a great happy hour from 5:30 to 6:30 and 8:30 to 9:30 with $5 appetizers. Breakfast at the Gazebo is also something you shouldn't miss. A bit hard to find as it's also in a condo/resort building. Try the fried rice and the mac nut pancakes. Portions are huge so you can share or order a half portion of the fried rice like the locals do. Lahaina Farms (it's a supermarket à la Whole Foods) was also recommended for nicely prepared foods that make for a nice beach picnic.
From the tourists, we heard good things about Merriman's and Mama's Fish House but all the locals agree that you don't need to spend that much money to eat well on Maui.
Places I would skip include Aloha Mixed Plate, David Paul's, Hula Grill (unless you are staying in a hotel nearby but don't go out of the way for it) and Kihea Caffe (okay but not as good as Gazebo). Pita Paradise in Kihea was a solid choice for lunch if you are looking something healthy but it's nothing fancy. Enjoy your trip!
Lala, if you went to David Paul's and Hula Grill, Merriman's is in the same price range and infinitely better. My other favorite upscale restaurant in West Maui is the Plantation House and they serve all three meals. A great place for an upscale breakfast.
If you plan to travel around the Four Seasons in Wailea (45 minutes away) has Spago, DUO and Ferraro's. I don't do Spago since I have them here in LA, but it a great place. Nick's Fishmarket at the Fairmont in Wailea is also very good.
For more low key, down home, I agree on Star Noodle, from the same people who have Aloha Mixed Plate, but I think Star is a lot better.
We usually get Mama's Ribs & Rotisserie at least once for take-out and eat on the lanai. Sea House in Napili Bay is a very good place in a great setting and again, good at any meal. If the line at the Gazebo is too long, we walk down the beach to the Sea House. The Gazebo is good, but not worth a wait of more than 10 or 15 minutes.
We also DO like the TS Restaurants (Duke's, Kimo's, Leilani's and Hula Grill), but usually only for lunch or Happy Hour. They have good locations and Hula Pie, but I find their dinners overpriced for what you get.
Nagasako Okazuya & Deli in Lahaina is a good example of old school Hawaii. An okazuya is a Japanese deli and no, the word deli doesn't mean they have pastrami. I remember a NY'er once complaining it was the worst deli she'd ever seen since they didn't have pastrami. I wonder how she would feel if I called Katz's the worst deli in the world because they don't have spam musubi? There is also Local Food if you'd like to try some Filipino food.
For breakfast in Lahaina we like Sunrise Cafe and the Pioneer Inn. Honestly we like the Pioneer Inn mostly because it is a throwback to Lahaina's days as a center of the whaling world having been built in 1901.
If you have never had bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), Ba Le at the Lahaina Cannery Mall does a nice job.
If you find yourself out by Kahului during the week and want what I think are some of the best noodles on the island, there is Sam Sato's. Great saimin and dry noodles, but if you do head that way, know they only do breakfast and lunch and are cash only.
I prefer Kihei Cafe over the Gazebo. Great beakfast for less $ and no wait. It's also one of the few places on the island that use fresh ground beef in their Loco Moco...I'll second Paia Fish Market, although it is the ahi burger we crave...Saigon Cafe is not worth the gas if you live near decent vietnamese restaurants.